News World Joe Biden to kick off U.S. presidential bid with speech to union...

Joe Biden to kick off U.S. presidential bid with speech to union workers

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will hold his first event as a presidential candidate in Pittsburgh on Monday, speaking before union members whose endorsements may be key in the primary race.

Biden, who joined the 2020 Democratic race last week, is counting on organized labor to comprise a significant part of his support, but despite his longstanding ties to unions, it may not be that easy.

The Democratic field now features 20 contenders, many of whom are making bids for backing by labour.

“This may be the most pro-union group of candidates we’ve seen in decades making it tougher for any one candidate to line up significant union support,” said Steve Rosenthal, a former political director for the AFL-CIO who is advising unions on their 2020 strategies.

Biden, 76, has long styled himself as a champion of blue-collar workers, but his record as a U.S. senator and his two terms serving as former President Barack Obama’s No. 2 may complicate his efforts to draw union voters.

As a senator from Delaware, Biden supported the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has become a sore point with unions that blame it for jobs going overseas.

As vice president, he was part of an administration that promulgated labor-friendly regulatory policies, but also pushed through trade deals with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea over the objections of several unions and many other Democrats.

A massive 12-nation trade deal backed by Obama and Biden, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was opposed by labor and became an issue in the 2016 presidential race, when Donald Trump, then the Republican presidential nominee, used it to criticize Democratic policies.

Once Trump became president, he pulled the United States out of the TPP, which went into effect last year. His administration currently is advocating for Congress to pass a negotiated replacement for NAFTA, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Even as Biden was preparing for his Pittsburgh launch, six other Democratic candidates on Saturday addressed union members at an event in Las Vegas, pledging support for policies such as a $15 federal minimum wage.

Labor unions have indicated that, with the sprawling Democratic field, they have the luxury to choose candidates who tailor policies to their specific goals.

“Working people are heading into this election with a high bar,” said John Weber, a spokesman for the AFL-CIO in Washington. “Your trade policy shouldn’t be about reducing the collateral damage of harmful corporate trade deals. It should be about replacing them with agreements that actually strengthen working families.”

In Pittsburgh, Biden will address the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and is expected to lay out his vision for bolstering the nation’s middle class. After that, he will head off on a campaign trip to the early voting state of Iowa.

Biden received a boost on Monday when, as expected, he was endorsed by the International Association of Firefighters, which boasts a membership of more than 300,000. Biden addressed the union last month in the run-up to his presidential bid.

“He’s one of the staunchest advocates for working families,” IAFF general president Harold Schaitberger said in a video posted on social media. “He knows that a strong middle class means a strong America.”

While organized labor has lost political clout with the decline of industrial jobs in America, it remains a key Democratic constituency, valued for its capacity to mobilize voters.

At this juncture, Biden may have to worry most about U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who, along with Biden, sits atop public opinion polls of the 2020 Democratic field.

Sanders, a progressive who consistently has railed against free-trade agreements, showed surprising strength among rank-and-file union members during his 2016 presidential primary challenge to Hillary Clinton even though she received the formal endorsement of most national unions.

That divide within unions between Clinton and Sanders is one reason, Rosenthal said, why some unions this time may wait deep into the primary process before endorsing a candidate – or may not endorse one at all.

“Because so many unions rushed to endorse Secretary Clinton in 2016, there will likely be a much more thorough process, including more rank-and-file input from some unions this cycle,” he said.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

Largest supermoon of 2020 rises on a world battling Covid-19 (photos)

The largest, brightest supermoon of 2020 rose in the night sky on Tuesday over hushed cities, stilled factories and countries in lockdown due to...

UK PM Johnson is stable, still in intensive care – Downing Street

British Prime Minister Boris Johnsons condition is stable and he remains in intensive care for close monitoring, a spokesman for his office said on...

Paphos: 5 booked at swimming pool, another 5 playing football

Five foreign nationals were booked by police on Tuesday afternoon at the swimming pool of a Paphos apartment complex. None were swimming, but all were...

Trump accuses U.S. Health Department watchdog of ‘fake dossier’ on coronavirus

President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused the U.S. Health Department's inspector general of having produced a "fake dossier" on American hospitals suffering shortages on...

5 tons of chloroquine imported from India for Cyprus, Israel

Five tons of API Chloroquine have been imported from India for Cyprus and Israel as part of a joint initiative by the two countries...

Taste

Stuffed vine leaves without meat

(Dolmadakia gialantzi) Rinse the leaves and boil in salted water for approximately 10 minutes until soft. Drain and place in some cold water with ice...

Snails with tomato sauce

When the snails are ready, drain them. Fry the onions in the oil and once slightly brown, add the tomatoes. Stir until cooked well...

Sea bream with capers

Clean the sea bream well, add salt and pepper to them and brush them with olive oil. Mix the capers and parsley together as...

Halloumi bread

Sift the flour with the salt into a bowl and mix in the yeast and lemon rind. Make a well in the centre of...